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Our Wrists & Our Mat

At AWPilates are are all about keeping happy & healthy during this time, particularly when we do not have access to equipment classes or gyms like we are use to. We all know that Yoga & pilates are a common practice that benefits our physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing. What does this mean? We are spending more time on our mats, and on our wrists for weight bearing exercises; when if done incorrectly can lead to long term pain.

Until pain, most of us don’t give too much thought to the impact our exercises play on our wrists.  Therefore, without giving up the mat, it is important to know a few tips & tricks to protect our hands/wrists to prevent recurring injury. As some of you know, I am an occupational therapist and a practicing hand therapist. However, if you are experiencing ongoing hand pain – please discuss this in clinic with a hand therapist for further investigation. Strengthening and other techniques will assist with proper alignment to provide the tender loving care our wrists require.

Let’s start with our anatomy:

The wrist is a complex area, comprising of 15 bones coming together in the area, and many ligaments and tendons.  There are 2 bones in the forearm that allow us to withstand heavy loads (our radius takes 80% of the load).  If our body is not properly aligned from our shoulders, arms, and hands, the force load shifts to an unnatural and damaging position.  The compromising positions, or ones we feel the most discomfort includes downward dog or plank positions.  Imbalances in muscle tone and poor body positioning can lead to tendonitis, ligament tears, joint impingement, and inflammation resulting in nerve pain… just to name a few.

To support the bones of our hand (carpal bones) there are 3 major arches of the hand. These are in the picture below. These arches are important for finger movement and grasp strength and include the Distal Transverse Arch (Green), Oblique Arch (red) and Longitudinal Arch (brown).

So what do we need to remember?

The carpal bones articulate with our radius and ulna bone (see photo) which makes up our wrist. The radius and ulna bone connect with one another at two pivot joints – the wrist and the elbow. Therefore, it is important we maintain space in the joint capsules at both the elbow and wrist for joint protection. and to allow for supination/pronation during hand movement.

How Do we Fix it?

With a few in-class tweaks in how we place our hands on the floor.

  • Tip 1: Think Fingertips into the floor – piano key style (with less arching)
  • Tip 2: Think “meaty” parts of your hands on the floor; rather than flattening out completely
  • Tip 3: Imagine a small marble or rolled up piece of paper under the knuckles of your hand; we don’t want to squish this.
  • Tip 4: Keep your energy pushing down evenly into all fingers and the “meaty” part of your hands.

You can follow our video on Facebook – AWPilates and Wellness Centre to improve this technique.

Happy & Healthy Wrists from us to you!

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